Alzheimer’s Scotland has launched the third National Dementia Strategy for Scotland.

Dementia was first made a national priority for Scotland a decade ago, and in that time significant progress has been made to support people with dementia, their families and carers. However, despite this progress much more remains to be done to rise to what is Scotland’s biggest health and social care challenge. The gap between the policy commitments found in all three strategies and the real life experience of many people is far too wide.

Henry Simmons, Alzheimer Scotland, Chief Executive, said: “We welcome the new commitments within Scotland’s third national dementia strategy as outlined today. It is a progressive and ambitious policy that will build on existing guarantees and takes us closer to delivering a high quality, person centred service for people with dementia and their families, from the point of diagnosis to the end of life. However it will require local areas throughout Scotland to maintain and increase their investment in dementia care.

“Across Scotland there is too much inconsistency; the current gap between policy and practice in some places is far too wide. We recognise the good work that is taking place in many areas and we would call on all Integration Authorities to follow this, and ensure that delivery of this strategy is given priority and resources so that the aspirations of the strategy become the reality for people living with dementia."

Alzheimer Scotland will continue to work with local partners to deliver on this strategy and to make sure the collective voice of people with dementia, their families, carers and our members are as strong and as engaged as possible throughout Scotland.

Key points of the dementia strategy include:

  • A new commitment to go beyond the initial guaranteed minimum of one year’s post diagnostic support to offer those individuals diagnosed early in their illness with a named Link Worker, who will continue to use the 5 Pillar approach beyond that initial 12 months if necessary, until formal health or social care supports are needed. This step enhances a progressive dementia policy which is already world-leading
  • A commitment to ensure that those individuals who are diagnosed later and whose needs are more appropriately delivered using the Alzheimer Scotland 8 Pillar model receive their post diagnostic support from a named Dementia Practice Coordinator from that point and through the advanced illness
  • These proposals, together with the commitment to test the Advanced Dementia Practice Model and the focus on end of life care mean this new strategy will provide the best possible support for people living with dementia from the point of diagnosis to the end of life.

We recognise that delivering the aspirations of this strategy will require local investment. The returns on this investment for people with dementia and their families are immeasurable. The potential return for the system however can be measured and will include significant delays in admission to residential and other formal care services, avoiding unnecessary admission to hospitals and preventing unhelpful crisis driven service responses, building capacity across our community to become the mainstay of support. Investing in and delivering the strategy is the only way to realise these returns and it must become a key priority for every local area.